I’ve been thinking about how there are times when it makes sense to leave the dishes in the sink.


A friend, who lives alone, has a system of letting them pile up for a few days and then washing them all at once. This is an example of the productivity tip of batching tasks.

Even if it makes sense rationally, I have a really hard time doing it. I just find the dishes distracting and really want to have them taken care of before I move on to other, bigger things.

Gretchen Rubin describes this as “Outer order contributes to inner calm.” (On her podcast she shortens it to “outer order, inner calm.”)  That principle is definitely true for me.

This also has me thinking to about a decade ago during my initial blogging stint. Lately I’ve been nostalgic for that era, when I had a handful of “Internet friends” whose blogs I read and who read my posts.

One of my readers invited me to do one of those challenges where you write a post with answers to a series of questions, and one of the questions was “My favorite chore.” The answer in her post was something along the lines of “I love chores, they help me avoid doing what I’m supposed to be doing.” (She was writing a dissertation).

It takes discipline to notice that something needs to be done, but to realize it can wait and to resist the impulse to take care of it immediately. To leave the dishes in the sink and take care of other things first. I get that, but for me the easiest way to get the dishes off my mind is to just do them.

Of course all this becomes more complicated when you don’t live alone and leaving the dishes in the sink inconveniences other people…